Facebook Rejects Biden’s Request to Censor Political Speech

June 12, 2020 Updated: June 12, 2020

Facebook declined on June 11 a push to censor political speech coordinated by the presidential campaign of former vice president Joe Biden.

Biden’s campaign started a public relations offensive on June 11 to pressure Facebook to censor election-related content. The campaign, introduced on Twitter by the former vice president himself, calls on Biden supporters to contact Facebook and demand that the social media take action on a list of demands.

“Just as they have done with broadcast networks—where the US government prohibits rejecting politicians’ campaign ads—the people’s elected representatives should set the rules, and we will follow them,” Facebook said in a statement responding to the Biden campaign. “There is an election coming in November and we will protect political speech, even when we strongly disagree with it.”

The Biden campaign urged Facebook to “promote real news, not fake news,” “quickly remove viral misinformation,” “end the pre-election ‘lie’ period,” and “enforce voter suppression rules against everyone, including the president.”

“After foreign operatives and right-wing trolls used Facebook in 2016 to hack the election, Facebook vowed ‘never again’ and vowed to take action. But now we’re less than five months away from the election in November here in 2020 and Facebook seems to be on a crash course to allow the same mistakes to happen again,” Deputy Biden Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield said in a two minute ad.

President Donald Trump and his campaign have for years charged that the social media giants are actively targeting the president and his supporters. 

“The American people can think for themselves. They don’t want big tech companies telling them how to think. The flagrant hypocrisy from Silicon Valley is apparent now more than ever as we witness unjustifiable targeting of President Trump, while at the same time Joe Biden goes unchecked as he lies to the American people over and over,” Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications for the Trump campaign said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.

“These companies are not the arbiters of truth. They do not have the people’s trust. They never will.”

Snapchat stopped promoting Trump’s content on June 3. Days earlier, Twitter labeled some of the president’s posts for allegedly being inaccurate or inciting violence. None of the social media giants have taken comparable action against Biden.

In its response to Biden, Facebook also pointed to the president’s recent executive order meant to prevent social media censorship as well as a federal prohibition on rejecting political ads.

“We live in a democracy, where the elected officials decide the rules around campaigns,” Facebook said. “Two weeks ago the President of the United States issued an executive order directing Federal agencies to prevent social media sites from engaging in activities like fact-checking political statements. This week, the Democratic candidate for President started a petition calling on us to do the exact opposite.” 

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